Sunday, 3 February 2013

Solway, Owling and Astrophotography

Dad and I went to the Solway on Tuesday with strong south westerlies the days previous we thought it would be worth checking out. We started at the bus shelter at Bowness to scan the flooded and slack water for a spell. GC Grebes in small numbers, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveller, Teal, Shelduck and Mallard. Pinkies and Barnies overhead as well. Redshank and Oystercatchers working the shoreline. 

We moved onto the shallow pools roadside at Campfield where we seen 4-5 Grey Plover and a good lot of Bar-Tailed Godwits. Groups of Dunlin and Knot constantly lifting from a probable near by raptor unseen by our selves. We bumped into Clive and the three of us headed down to the hide.

The first species of interest was Teal in large number of 1400. Not much happening until a burst of activity starting with the all the Teal lifting in unison as we scanned for predators....a couple of minutes later they were up again and a male Peregrine was seen coming in from the left. A Little Egret appeared from the Solway to shelter in the shallows and half a dozen Pintail flew in  as well. The last highlight was a female Merlin appearing meters from the hide before heading west.
    
Geltsdale Star trail compiling 40 images to capture motion of the stars
A rare clear spell of weather on Friday night excited me to get out and take advantage. Low winds as well made for increased chance of hearing vocal Owls. I had planned a few locations in advance with good composition for shooting the night sky so I headed up the valley to those spots. Tawny owls calling in the woodland on route and a Short-eared owl flew past my torch light further up and a distant screeching Barn Owl coming from the north as I was up the fell. Did good with the owl prowl getting 3 out of a possible 6 species in the area. 

While focusing on the night sky and doing astrophotography I am always attempting to learn new consolations and individual stars. A few faint shooting stars seen and a couple of satellites before the strong moon crescent appearing just before midnight soaked up a lot of the stars on show.  

A lone Ash up at the greens on a very atmospheric night
Sunshine on Saturday and a trip to the seaside to Siloth links for a round of golf. As it was great light I took the camera to get a few action shots. A few Linnets flushed out of the rough grass as I was looking for my stray balls. Male and female Kestrel hunting as well which was the closest I got to a birdie all day!

Thanks for looking...

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